Judge in Chessington rape and attempted murder trial calls for "calm, reasoned analysis"

Surrey Comet: Due to retire: The jury will be sent out tomorrow Due to retire: The jury will be sent out tomorrow

The jury in the trial of a man accused of raping and attempting to kill a pensioner is due to retire tomorrow to consider its verdict.

Labourer Robert Richards, 22, of Pear Tree Close, Chessington, denies rape, attempted rape, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm of a woman in her 70s in Chessington on October 23 last year.

Summing up the case today, Judge Price told the jury that despite the "understandable human emotions" attached to a case of this nature, jurors must make a "calm, reasoned analysis" of the evidence.

In his closing statement, Duncan Cooke, defending Mr Richards, claimed the prosecution had assassinated his client's character in a bid to fit its theory of who was responsible for the attack.

He said Mr Richards' claim that he found and put on a pair of tracksuit bottoms stained with the victim's blood on the morning of the attack was in keeping with his attitude to hygiene, having not washed his work clothes for a week due to a broken washing machine.

Prosecutor Jonathan Loades had previously suggested Mr Richards had gone to a shop after the attack to deliberately be seen in CCTV, giving him an alibi.

Along the way he had discarded garments, including a pair of gloves allegedly worn during the attack, Mr Loades had suggested.

But Mr Cooke said: "If Robert Richards is getting rid of evidence, if he is this forensically aware individual who is throwing away gloves, deliberately getting himself seen on CCTV and researching DNA on his telephone, what on earth is he doing 12 hours later still wearing these blood soaked trousers?

"How does that fit into the theory that he's worked this all out?"

Judge Price will conclude his summing up tomorrow morning, before sending the jury out to consider its verdict.

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